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.....weakness. We found its deficiencies less noticeable in the 1300S than in the 1100S - the newer model is more comfortable on ordinary roads. But even when fully laden it is very restless and jerky on poor surfaces, particularly those with short, shallow undulations, and the discomfort is accentuated by the accompanying loud crashing noises which make the car seem crude and unrefined.
In few other ways, though, is the 1300 noisy. The admirable quietness of the engine is matched by a low level of wind noise, and there isn't much roar roar - as opposed to bump-thump - either.
The seats are comfortable and the controls are generally well laid out, though we still aren't too keen on Fords stiff and rather fumbly array of stalks. The interior is roomy with legroom which is ample at the front and adequate in the rear. But boot space is wasted by the false floor and lower compartment containing the spare wheel which we feel should be stowed under the bonnet.
With fittings such as a rev-counter, a clock, an intermittent wipe facility, a cigar lighter and cloth upholstery, the S model is reasonably well equipped, but the near-essential rear wash-wipe system is an extra (costing £52.06). The pyjama-style scat upholstery seems to show stains rather easily and we wish the interior stylists had copied Opel or BMW rather than Volkswagen when designing the instruments - or had consulted the creators of their own award-winning cluster - for the glasses covering the dials create reflections.
Much more important, however, the general impression of refinement is still spoiled by some detail faults and by -poor quality control. The doors make a tinny noise when they shut, for instance - not structurally important, perhaps, but aesthetically displeasing - and not the first time on a Fiesta the heater distribution control was defective. Given a belter ride and some improvement in these respects the Fiesta would acquire the refinement it deserves, though even in its present form it is an excellent little car.
MODEL: Fiesta 1300S
MAKER: Ford Motor Co Ltd, Dagenham, Essex.
PRICE: £2430.86 plus £202.57 car tax plus £210.67 VAT equals £2844.10
Top-Right - A rear wash wipe iystem, alloy wheel* and a radio are standard finings for the Ghia modal, but not the S version tested here. The sunshine roof It another extra. The pyjama-style upholstery shows the dirt easily